Monday, September 21, 2009


Casey's Indiana Jones Halloween costume arrived in the mail today.
It's pretty cheaply made (IMHO). But he doesn't care. He loves it.
He put it on immediately.

In fact, he's sleeping in it now.

He cracks me up.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

They Really Can Swim

Our summer swim experiment was a success, by the way.

Casey, who'd worked his way through five previous swim program/schools and was terrified of any water over 3 feet deep can now swim. In 8-foot-deep water. By himself. After jumping in the pool. Even if no adults are in the pool with him.

Marcie still needs a grown up in the water, but she, too, loves jumping in, and can swim pretty far without even taking a breath.

I admit it. We're impressed. With the kids, too-- but especially with their swim teacher.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Casey and Marcie participate in far more verbal jousting than I'd like. Not particularly intellectual conversations, of course (they're only 6 and 3, after all). It's irritating none the less.

Here are a couple samples of typical "discussions" I hear when I drive them to school in the morning:

Casey: Marcie, I'm older than you are, so I'm in first grade and you're not.
Marcie: I'm old, too. I'm in pre-K.
Casey: No you're not. You're not old. I'm just old. You're young. You're like a baby.
Marcie: No I'm not. I'm a big girl. I'm big like you. I'm not a baby.
Casey: Yes you are. You're a baby. I'm just big.
Marcie: (now whining) I'm not a baby. I'm big. I'm a big girl. MO-O-O-OM, Casey says I'm a baby, but I'm not a baby, I'm a big girl.

Casey: Marcie I have brown hair, like Mommy. You have black hair.
Marcie: No I don't. I have brown hair.
Casey: Nuh uh. It's dark. It's black, not brown.
Marcie: I have brown hair Ca-sey. I'm telling.
Casey: Then I'm just not going to invite you to my birthday party.
Marcie: Yes. I want to go to your birthday party.
Casey: No. You're just not invited.


I never said these were intellectual conversations. Mind you, no one's birthday is even for another couple months, and they discuss these imaginary parties that one or other is or is not invited to all the time.

It's not the kind of bickering to which I can just respond by telling them to work it out or I'll take away whatever it is they're fighting over. I'm not sure what it is they're fighting over. And though Casey started these two example-arguments, Marcie starts her fair share of them, too.

I'm not sure what to do about it. No, I haven't read Siblings Without Rivalry. I expected bickering. I just didn't expect it to irritate me so much. At home when they argue like that, I just separate them. And they pretty much don't do it in public. But stick them in a car together and it's a different story.

They're so competitive with each other. I don't know if it's something I've fostered. Or even if it's a bad thing. Maybe they're just figuring out their relationship. Whatever they're doing, it's irritating when I'm driving. (And music doesn't drown it out- believe me, I've tried.) Do you think they'll ever grow out of it?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Adoption News

We haven't actually posted about the adoption in a while. Not because it's stalled. Or forgotten. It's just a very. long. wait. Very long.

Our log-in-date was October 9, 2007. Which means we'll have officially been waiting for two full years come next month. We waited 6 months for Casey. 12 months for Marcie. And even if the trend were simply to double the wait time for each additional child, we'd at least be getting a referral in another month. But that's not the case. In fact, recent "predictions" put us getting a referral in 2015.

When I see numbers like that, I wonder why anyone would want to adopt from China. Since you can't submit your paperwork until you're 30, it means that you'd be getting your child at 37. Of course, as an almost-37-year-old myself, it's not that I think that 37 is too old. It's just not that young, either.

So who knows what we'll do. But for now, we're still standing in line.
We actually renewed our I-171H last spring. It was set to expire in March 2009. Because we knew we'd be waiting more than another 18 months, we had the option of letting the paperwork expire and then just updating everything, under the new Hague rules, when our turn gets closer. But it seems easier to just keep things current, so that's what we've opted for. We had to do additional parenting/international adoption classes to meet our homestudy agency's Hague requirements, but we're still filed under the old I-600A regime, which will expire again in another year.

Renewing the I-600A was a little bit confusing because our local USCIS office has changed how it does things but directing people to different office based alphabetically. Using Jason's last name, it would have meant sending us as far south in the county as possible. But because we filed under my full last name (my maiden name and my married name), we kept our "central" location, which is a couple blocks from my office. We filled out the paperwork, wrote a letter, met with our homestudy agency to get the updated homestudy, and walked in all the paperwork. They gave us a new fingerprint form, and once we completed it and turned it in, they processed the new I-600A. A little time consuming, but nothing too painful. And because we were "grandfathered" in and this is our first extension, we even got a waiver on the renewal fee.

In other news, it appears that our paperwork has finally made it through the review room in China. We didn't get any questions, so I think we're in the clear. On the one hand, I'm a little disturbed that China is making decisions on information two years old-- which will be somewhere around 5 years old when we ultimately adopt. On the other hand, I'm grateful we don't have to update it because it's a super big hassle. And the United States requires us to stay current on the information with the State every 18 months, so it's not like we can have a major life change that isn't tracked.

We don't talk much about the China adoption anymore. It just seems so distant, it's easier not to dwell on it. The kids understand it, vaguely, but it's really not worth emphasizing. Some days I think that we're just meant to be a family of four, and I'm okay with that. But deep down, I just don't feel like we're "done" yet. So we wait. And wait. And wait.

Worms and Trojans

I haven't posted in almost a month. And it's the fault of technology. Truly.
See, a while ago, Casey was playing a Cars game on my computer. A children's game.

But, as happens from time to time, he either clicked something or a pop-up window appeared that he clicked. And shazam, my computer got infected. Despite the fact that I do have some sort of virus protection software. Or thought I did.

Anyway, my computer was running irritatingly sluggishly, so I mentioned my frustrations about 3 million times to Jason. Who finally pushed me aside to take a look (against my initial protests). Turned out there were something like 300 worms or trojan horses or some other such viruses on my computer.

So we wiped it. Wiped the hard drive, eliminated everything (thankfully I'd just recently backed up all my pictures onto CD) and reinstalled a newer operating system. But on the newer operating system, everything is GIANT. Even at its smallest resolution. And I have a very small screen. (Like 10" or 12" or something.) This made doing work on my laptop-- or doing anything-- a frustrating experience.

Add to that the fact that I couldn't find my power chargers for either of my point-and-shoot cameras and, well, forget it. It was just easier not to turn on the computer at all. Which is what's been going on. My nephews came for a visit last week and I don't have a single picture of it. (Thankfully, I was able to borrow Jason's camera to take some photos, and I do have a couple shots of Casey's first day of first grade in August.)

Well, this morning I found the charger. Sitting on the shelf-- literally in front of my face-- right where it's supposed to be. And then I mentioned the irritating resolution to Jason, who confirmed that I'd done nothing wrong. So now we're looking for updates so I can get the screen resolution smaller than 1024 x 728. (After all, what's the point of having laser eye surgery if you can't take full advantage of the 20-15 vision?)

So you can look forward to posts again (I know, you've all been just dying in anticipation of my posts!). In fact, today is Casey's first outdoor soccer game. And I'll be armed with a charged-up camera. . .